It’s Time to Wake Up!

Today will mark my first day back after dealing with a terrible depression. Most of us have writer’s block from time to time and that is what I thought I was experiencing. Now, after nearly a month away from what had formerly consumed every fiber of my being (my blog and the blogs of friends) I know that it wasn’t writer’s block.

I had been nominated for an award by Olivia and I so wanted to accept this with all the fun that went along with it by answering the questions and nominating other bloggers who deserved the Liebster. But it wasn’t happening. Every time I sat down in front of my computer to post, I was blank. So I kept asking myself why. Why didn’t I care to finish the requirements of the Award I was nominated for? What about all the bloggers I had been reading that could be having a part in this. What about my readers? 

I was struggling with other areas of my life. My health and family. I couldn’t  focus. I couldn’t pretend all was alright. So today I am willing to explore this in my blog. I need to. Where I’ve been the last three plus weeks doesn’t matter now. The ‘Whys’ don’t matter now. What matters is that I am writing again. I am reading again. I am alive again. Without those things, I might as well be asleep.

And today I’m asking myself—What really matters?. What matters is that I get back to writing. What matters is that I do whatever it takes to get back on track. And one very important thing that matters is who am I writing for? We write because we want to be read. But when we – when I – write, I am writing for myself. I have to write. It is a necessary part of how my brain functions and without that, I begin to decompose. So the most important thing I can reveal about myself is not found in an Award (although I still want to complete the Liebster). And the most intriguing thing about me is not always positive. Depression can be negative. But I won’t shy away from writing about it if that’s all there is to write about that week. Hopefully you’ll identify with my weaknesses as much as my strengths.


Cape Arago

Cape Arago

Another view from the cliff looking down at Cape Arago.

Trail To Heaven

Cape Arago

Cape Arago

Trail To Heaven

I like surprises-especially when I discover them with Sunni-girl. It was a spur of the moment “let’s go for a ride!” kinda thing. Sometimes those are the best kind. I drove for 40 minutes past the hustle and bustle of the fishing harbor in Charleston, past Sunset Beach. I had been there many times over the past year but today I drove as far as the highway would take us-to Cape Arago. We wandered around an open grassy knoll and then discovered a a trail with many different twists and turns. I immediately felt a peace come over me. Immersed in sounds of sea lions and gulls we walked and then stopped. There was no wind. What I saw as we came toward the light could not be described accurately by any superlative. Stay tuned for more.


Your post basically sums up the way I feel about books today. I loved, To Kill a Mockingbird, for all the reasons you cited. Thank you-
from a new blogger.

Serendipity - Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Recently, we watched To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) on Blu-ray. I bought it months ago and planned to watch it, but hadn’t gotten to it. After we settled in, we remembered why we love it.

It’s a great movie, a wonderful story. Brilliant acting. Gregory Peck in the defining role he chose for himself. In many way, he was Atticus Finch.

A rare movie in which all pieces fit. It never hits a false note. It takes its time. It’s about justice and injustice, racism, the legal system. It’s also about family and love, relationships, coming of age and learning the world is a bigger, better and worse place than you imagined.

Front CoverCoincidentally, my granddaughter was assigned to read the book. She thinks it’s boring, and though I don’t agree with her, I understand her world is far removed from the world of Mockingbird … so far she can’t relate to…

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River Hound

Sunni-girl and her favorite of all playgrounds. This shot of her depicts contentment not to mention the fact that she has learned to pose for the camera.

At home I am plagued all morning by her following me all over the house in anticipation of going for a car ride to her favorite place. If I appear to be settling down even for a minute, she strikes a pose and stares at me as if to say, I thought we were going? I’m not a fan of the stare so I usually get up and if possible, start the process of getting ready. I have a list of things to do, she has a list of things to smell. 🙂  Into the car we go and the tail is wagging with delight. As we drive, her eyes dart back and forth to see where we are going to stop.  Making a left turn at the intersection I drive a short distance past the Winter Lakes logging company. Hundreds of logs are floating on one side of the road,covering the water completely. This  is the busy season for processing them. (more on this old logging town in another post). The right turn I take next, is the one where Sunni spots the park. She begins to squeal like a little pig!  (I think she’s afraid I’ll pass right by it like I do sometimes.) Her body language and her face are now lit up. I park on the side where the boats dock but there are no boats today. We are good to go. I barely get the door opened and she is off and running. Her tongue is completely hanging to the side of her jowls and she is smiling full and wide as she prances like a filly who just discovered grass.

And the river? As I am walking  her toward the dock her nose goes down to smell the brackish green water running out to sea and I have to get firm with her-No! You can’t get in the water today. Her look up at me is somewhere between resigned and Aww…please just this once? She’s ready to jump in and oh does she love the water.

Last summer I took her to a river where she could get in and swim. She is so entertaining. She makes a move, sort of like a breast stroke, up and down all the while creating big bubbles ahead of her. She then eats the bubbles and bobbing her head up and down breaks all the bubbles with her mouth. This goes on and on until I have to finally call her back because she is chomping her way right down the river and away from me. You’d have to see it to appreciate it.

I am so blessed to have her -she is by far, THE most precious dog I have ever had.  Around town, people stop to talk to her and the first thing they say to me is: “She’s so happy.”  She definitely is. The next question they ask is usually, “What kind of dog is she?” And I say. A River-hound. Just a good old river hound.

***Unfortunetely, all of my attempts to load a picture of the river with her in it have failed. The pics are on my phone -W app is not working for some reason.


Yellow for Friendship and Spring!

Yellow for Friendship and Spring!

Today the sun was telling me to get outside after breakfast and do some weeding in order to make way for the stunning array of color that will soon burst forth in the garden. I could already see little baby violets peeking out. Miniature bouquets on my windowsill are a treat to look forward to. I was also happy to transplant some rhizomes from one side of a fully stocked bed to a rather empty area and noticed a plethora of nasturtiam growing right before my eyes. They are coming up early and fast (They are so good in salad -adding a peppery flavor). The hydrangeas are summers joy here in Oregon and I trimmed two back last week with three more to go.
The Ranunculus and lobelia were part of my California garden and I hope the new homeowner’s are enjoying them- or will be soon. For me, the contrasts of the tiny deep blue of lobelia against the deep cadmium yellow brought unceasing pleasure each day I walked by them. I have since found my favorite of favorites (if there can be such a thing) and it is the palest of pink nearly transparent petals. And deep down with each petal joins with the others, the pink is seemingly lit up with a tinted yellow orange. I tried to uploaded this picture from Getty’s images but again…I am not able to? If you decided to check out the link…/ranunculus-stock/ – be prepared to swoon if you have time to look at “Stone” the name of this one. ref#165478074 under Ranunculus.

Spring is here! I have so many ideas. Will I have time to write? Will you? What are you looking forward to in Spring besides the weather?

Cookie Monsters

20140117_091436Having a pet can bring so much to our lives for all the reasons you may have already ticked off in your mind-unconditional love, companionship, affection, joy. Oh… and they never get mad at you. NEVER. On the other hand, they can be as stubborn as the most stubborn mule. Or as sneaky as the sneakiest preschooler. Which in turn can make you rather frustrated with them. Take for example today-

I had to drive into the big city (remember my big city is 20,000). It takes me thirty minutes or so to get there (see my post “Small Town” if you’re curious about this).
And, as is my habit, I took Sunni (my dog) with me; not just because I was going to be gone longer than four hours but because I know she really loves the car ride. I mean-the entire 20 mile drive along highway 101 this morning, she was hanging over the back seat of my SUV.  Her back legs were standing tall, front paws stretched over and hugging the top of the seat in between the headrests. Her head was bent as far forward as possible and hunched to avoid hitting the headliner as her eyes darted left and right out every window, looking for clues. Clues would be any solid green patches along the way. Clues that tell her – I’m going to play! When spotted, she pants heavily with drool thicker than honey only not as tasty.

I’m quick to notice and egg her on as I try to get her attention by looking in the rear view mirror, “How ya’ doin’ babe?” Her tail is sweeping faster than my windshield wipers in a downpour and I know she is thinking that any moment we will be turning in front of the dog park entrance and she will be in smell heaven.

Instead, I have to go from errand to errand with a couple of appointments in between. That translates to disappointment with a big D. Have you ever seen that look in your dogs eyes? It’s as real as the word-‘hangdog.’ Do they do that on purpose? Do you think dogs scheme? Before today…I really imagined Sunni was perfect. That’s my idealistic thinking again. Whatever…

Every single time I come back to the car my brain is telling me that she is disappointed… again. So, every single time I come back to the car, I give her a cookie or cracker…or whatever I’ve got that will tide her over until I can get her to the park. Honestly, sometimes I’ve forgotten to put treats in the car and out of desperation I drove through the gas station for a gallon of gas just so my dog could get a dog biscuit. Yup…Most all of the gas stations keep a ready supply of dog biscuits on hand here in rural Oregon. A cynic would say they do it for the business but honestly-up here it’s dog country. Nine out of ten vehicles have tongue-waggers riding around in them. So, besides filling your tank with gas and washing your windshield, your gas station attendants job is to spoil your dog. (It’s really a very nice gesture -isn’t it?)

So, I’ve been in this habit for a year or more now…because that’s how long I’ve been here. And, I’m usually loaded with treats. They’re hidden in my pockets-in the glove compartment-in a bag from the store-IN MY PURSE!  

Soon after the first appointment this morning, I dutifully let Sunni out to go potty and to her dismay, I immediately make her get back in the car so that I am not late to the next stop. GUILT TRIP!  I immediately reach into my bag and give her a cookie. Next errand. It’s a quick stop but I give her a cookie anyway (well…part of one), and it’s on to the second appointment. This time I grabbed my wallet and phone and left my bag. I was sure to hide it under my coat thinking it was safe. Do I really have to write the next sentence? Oh, I know…. It’s all my fault.

There she was-caught in the act! She had jumped into the driver’s seat, scrounged through my coat, my bag, her baggie (which I so uncleverly hid under the driver’s seat.  Oh, if I could only blame her! Or the gas station attendants. I may accept responsibility for this rebellious, sneaky child-But as of now…I’m changing her name to Miss Piggy. Or I should call her the…Cookie Monster. She’s a little of both.


Age is Just a Number?


I don’t hate getting old. After all, wisdom usually comes with age (usually). Being old isn’t the problem. The problem are the things that interfere with growing old.  And for those who like to say age is a state of mind-I don’t mean to disagree with them, but tell that to someone who lives with chronic pain daily.

That’s why I say, age isn’t the problem. I know men and women who, into their 80’s are running half- marathons, working out in the gym and accomplishing many other things that require physical and mental endurance.

On the other hand, have you known younger individuals who are struck with such terrible diseases that they are forced to give up their jobs? Their treasured activities? Even their quality of life is compromised.

Arthritis is one of those diseases. Recently I read an article about a little girl who was struck with juvenile polyarthritis when she was 6 years old. This condition is an immune disorder. As with most immune disorders, the body’s own immune system attacks and destroys healthy tissues, causing pain and swelling in the joints until they are deformed. It is increasingly more painful as a young body grows.

This little girl grew up and at 22, had to face life in a wheelchair. Now in her 60’s, she is only 65 -pounds. But mentally, she is a heavyweight. She imagines herself healthy, doing things that she cannot do. And she trusts in her God who has helped her to find strength in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9 &10). But, her outlook is an example to me and many others.

I”m not in a wheelchair. I don’t have an immune disorder. But I have lived with chronic pain from accidents I have been in, throughout my life. Arthritis is rampant throughout my body – and nerve pain is part of it. So I have it easier than most.

Disease make even the very smallest chore exhausting and painful. And the strongest man or woman can be reduce to a crumbling lump under the covers on the worst of days. They may wake up in pain and go to bed in pain. Even household activities once attacked with enthusiasm and vigor when you were well, are activities you may have to hire to get done or not get done at all when you are ill.

As for myself, I love to garden. My neighbors are getting their soil ready and the garden centers are crowded with vegetable plants and fruit trees and people! I have spent years digging out plots of various sizes for my vegetable garden, in every home I’ve ever lived. I love watching the first seedlings sprout in February and March. Gardening is in my heart and soul. But I will not be readying a plot this year. I may be putting a few plants in some pots.

Limitations. The doctors all say to respect them. It’s hard. We all over do it. Anything worth doing is worth doing right.-right? I don’t remember who said that but my motto now is: “Anything worth doing is worth doing for 15 minutes.” 

If I were to wake up even a few days a week feeling at least minimal pain, life would be full of opportunity- because I have the curiosity of 10 kids and my sense of adventure would take me all over the world and into as many gardens as possible.

If you’re a healthy 80 years young…yes, you might feel like age is only a number. I can only imagine how life could be without chronic pain. But I know one thing for sure-I will make the best of what life has to offer me now. I have the ability to choose to live happily or unhappily, young or old. And while I cannot run a marathon, or even begin to train for one; I can write-take photos- and enjoy music. I can love my family and be kind to others. And I can look to those who have been struck with something far more difficult to cope with and gain inspiration from them.

Age is just a number? You decide.


That Wasn’t Me

These past few weeks have been so challenging to me physically, mentally and emotionally that I have been unable to get a post of any significance out. I have written every single day but dumped every single day. A few words made it out and so did my disappointment. Today I decided it didn’t matter. Whatever I feel I am going to write and I am not going to dump. But whatever was going on – is going on…I think this morning was an indication of why I didn’t feel I could write. 

It was early this morning as I went back to bed. Knowing I would not be able to go back to sleep (because I rarely can), I grabbed my phone. I’ll just ease myself awake. I needed to hear some of my favorite songs-something to awaken gently that aching body after a broken night’s sleep. I knew I had previously downloaded an artist who’s voice had won me over some time ago. Too early for my glasses, I squinted as usual with just the right tension to pick out the gold and black earphone app and selected Brandi Carlile.  There’s is something about her voice for me, that gently rocks me. I can’t say what it is. I want to compare her to Ronstadt, but there is no comparison. I think of the clear, bell-like sound of Sarah McLachlan, and I realize Carlile’s voice is something in between. It has a purity, yet it’s got the pleading voice of a child. It sometimes sounds like a haunting voice. Whatever it is-It takes me to another space. I am at once elevated spiritually and broken all at the same time.  And with each note this morning, I felt myself resisting the minor chords-I didn’t want to go there. But I did. Maybe I needed to go there. And even though it turned into a mess before my day even began, I was hooked and willing to listen to more. To me, Carlile is the therapist-the sister who gives me the time of day and she is telling me: “Hang on just hang on for a minute-I’ve got something to say...” with that first cut. When, “That Wasn’t Me” plays, my reflections and pain are wrapped up thinking about the metamorphousis of my son, his transformation from addiction-jail-unemployment and finally prison.
This is a big story waiting to get out on paper or computer.

“What Did I Ever Come Here For,” Carlile’s second on my playlist, begins again with a piano introduction and then…”I’d been gone for so long- and how I missed you-oo- my heart was aching for home…” My eyes began to flood. I am aching for home. I’m aching for those who made up home at one time. Is home a place? A person? Or both?

With each phrase that echoed from my tiny speaker phone, my heart pained me. And while I admit trying to sing in that pitiful state I didn’t care because no one was around to hear me but Sunni.
 “…i dreamt that i heard you call my name- but my mind was playing games…i knew right then that i returned – to where i was before and I was so tired of being away that I just couldn’t stay anymore. What did I ever come here for.”

What did I ever come here for?

I was mourning a place. Still feeling out of my element here. It’s been a year and last month was the anniversary of my move to Oregon as well as the anniversary of a marriage gone wrong. FEBRUARY. The month I moved from California-the month I married-the month my divorce was final. The all collided in February. Perhaps that’s why I could’t write. I didn’t understand what I was stuffing. Now I do. It doesn’t mean I understand how to fix it because some things can never be fixed-just hurdled. I am jumping hurdles. And for now if I stop in front of one, go back and start again, mistakes and all- well I guess that’s part of the growth I still need to do. I’m glad for it-in a way. Not for the grief…but for the challenge. I didn’t really get it this morning while I was wallowing in my pain. I’m not understanding all of it now. I’m just trying to be honest with myself and OFF THE CUFF.